On the Marshes
by Carol Donaldson
Carol Donaldson’s debut: an extraordinary exploration into the waterlands of the north Kent marshes through a series of walks, which is also an examination of the landscapes, wildlife and people who choose to make their home in these liminal lands.
“…Donaldson makes a delightful and refreshingly unconventional guide.” Ben Hoare, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Book of the Month
“…a sense of place dear to the author’s heart is lovingly evoked.” George Sawtell, Caught by the River
“Carol Donaldson should be applauded for standing up for wildness on the edge of the metropolis. ” Ben Eagle, New Nature
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What would happen if you decided to live simply within your means in a caravan or a cabin in the woods?
It’s a question for our times. When Carol Donaldson walked across the marshlands of north Kent, travelling from Gravesend to Whitstable, she was still coming to terms with being evicted from her home and the break-up of a long-term relationship. Before then she had chosen a simple existence, living in a caravan underneath a willow tree while she worked on a RSPB nature reserve surveying wetland wildlife. Despite the frozen pipes and electricity that blew out in every storm, it was a way of life she came to love.
What begins as a walk away from her troubled past becomes a journey of self-discovery, a pilgrimage in search of people who have chosen to live on the edge of England in this lonely, beautiful waterland. She meets plot-holders, houseboat owners and cabin dwellers who are all drawn to the watery margins by an urge to escape the expectations, comforts and costs of twenty-first-century life.
On The Marshes brings us an original voice that weaves Donaldson’s personal story of alienation and yearning with others who have made the north Kent marshes their home. She explores the conflicts between marsh-dwellers and corporate Britain, between private ownership and conservation, exploring the different ways we choose to live on this tribally divided island.
Available from April 2017
See the short trailer for On the Marshes, made by Luke Gardner:
Read Carol’s piece in The Guardian about the North Kent Marshes: